Saturday, June 23, 2018

Gary Jones responds to Prater's invite of convicted embezzler to Auditor debate

Screenshot of video


    Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector, Gary Jones, is firing back at Auditor candidate, Charlie Prater, after Wednesday night’s debate.  Not only did Charlie Prater repeatedly besmirch Jones and his staff, Prater‘s campaign manager physically confronted Jones after the debate.  The confrontation was captured on video.

    “Charlie Prater's oafish campaign manager was clearly trying to physically intimidate me after the debate.  It didn’t work,” Gary Jones says.  “I assume he was so frustrated by his candidate being repeatedly humiliated by Cindy Byrd’s superior knowledge of the office, he decided to take it out on me.  But what surprised me most was when I realized he was joined by Mike Helm — one of the Rogers County Commissioners who left office in disgrace after we audited his books.”

    At the end of the video, Mike Helm is seen joining the confrontation, declaring his own innocence while revealing he was an invited guest of Charlie Prater.

    “What kind of Auditor candidate invites a former public official, one convicted on embezzlement charges, to join his campaign?” asks Cindy Byrd.  “My team and I performed the audit that led a multi-county grand jury to recommend Mike Helm’s removal from office. There’s a reason why Helm was indicted on felony charges of Embezzlement and Conspiracy to Defraud Rogers County.  Mike Helm misappropriated $5 Million worth of taxpayer money and ultimately pled guilty. Now he’s a member of Charlie Prater's campaign team?  It’s not just an insult to every employee in the Auditor’s office who worked tirelessly to bring Mike Helm to justice — it’s an insult to every taxpayer in Oklahoma.”

    Cindy Byrd currently conducts performance and financial audits of government operations across Oklahoma.  In that time, she has exposed more than $10 million in fraud and waste, leading to the indictment or resignation of six elected officials.

    Cindy Byrd is the current Oklahoma Deputy State Auditor for Local Government Services.  She is a CPA, member of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs, American Institute of CPAs, and of the American Board of Forensic Accountants.  In the last fiscal year, Cindy Byrd oversaw 304 of the 411 audit performed by the agency.

    The Republican primary election takes place on June 26, and the general election on November 6, 2018.  For more information on Cindy Byrd, please visit or at

UPDATE: here's a cell phone video showing a brief snippet of the confrontation:


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